July 27, 2005


Owning a home is part of the American dream, but purchasing a house may not fit in your budget right now. In fact, more than half of the people in the United States lives in some type of apartment.
If you’ve ever rented a house or apartment, you’ve probably stared at your blank walls and wished you could make your house look more like home. “How can I decorate when I can’t even punch nails in the walls?” you think to yourself. However, home decorating can be done even when you are “borrowing” the walls for a while. After all, it is your home for now, and why shouldn’t it look its best? Decorating on a budget with little or no impact can be hard, but it is not impossible! Landlords control what happens to their property which they are “loaning” to you as you rent. Altering your existing furniture or adding new, non-permanent decorations can help in many ways.
One of the most obvious "decorating" techniques is also one of the most time-consuming. But there's a reason why a new coat of paint and change of color can infuse new life into any space -- it's the first thing you notice when you walk into a room. Whether you decide to pick up a brush yourself or enlist the help of your girlfriend or a professional painter, it's up to you to choose the color.
Remember that a lighter color makes a place look bigger while a darker color can have the opposite effect; but that doesn't mean you can't experiment with a different color rather than the usual white or "eggshell." While neutrals are a "safer" option, softer shades of earth tones are gaining in popularity. Some popular wall colors include cappuccino or mocha brown, sage green and light blue.
And don't limit yourself to one-dimensional options; if you hire a pro, you can consider a more textured painting technique, which can add a whole other effect to your walls. If you do it yourself, you can also opt for "special effect" paint, which has different textures like denim, suede, linen, and sandstone, for example.
Naturally a complement to a room's wall color, lighting can lend an entirely new dimension to a room. Just think of the effect that the right lighting can have on a film or TV show.
Invest in some cool floor lamps, table lamps, and even ceiling fixtures (if applicable). There is an abundance of lamp options out there, and there's no reason for you to have to resort to a lamp from the local hardware store. From wood to leather bases, and "Zen"-looking shades, your minimalist-looking lamps can give your place maximum appeal.
If you don't want to actually purchase new furniture, you can resort to rearranging your space. Angling your bed, table and sofa in a new direction can infuse new energy to your space. When you moved in, you may have simply placed your dining room table, couch, bed, and dresser without a second thought, rather than trying out all the different options. You may even discover that your home has a lot more space than you're used to or suspected.
But you could also take the more expensive route, and invest in some cool additions to your home. The right accessories and/or furniture can become the focal point of a room, giving it a whole new spin.
The following is a list of furniture or accessories you should consider for various rooms in the house (whichever ones you want to spruce up):
Coffee table: an ottoman can also serve as a coffee table.
End table
Chairs: An original, trendy chair can become the life of your living room.
Rug: you can go funky with a bright shag carpet, or classic with a traditional area rug.
Art: Go for something conversational and original, like a vintage poster or abstract art.
Wall unit
Aquarium with exotic fish
Vases filled with fresh bamboo, stones, or apples, pears, lemon, or lime.
Throw cushions
Wine rack
Bar stools
It might seem like a lot of work, but your home is a direct reflection of you and if you don't care for it, who will?

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